Krishnagiri: Hit by a severe water scarcity, village youth day and night guard a small pond inside the reserved forest in Krishnagiri district to prevent wild animals including jumbos from using their usual water hole.
Acute water crisis is a major problem for the uphill Tholuvabetta village that has no road, transport services, health, education and other infrastructure facilities.
With a population of over 1,000 people dwelling in around 150 houses at Tholuvabetta and T.Pazhaiyur villages, people living there are mostly small farmers, who send their children to work for livelihood with no agriculture activity because of poor monsoons last year.
“Youths of our village work in Bengaluru and other places. They came for voting and have been asked to stay with us to take up the task of guarding the small pond in our forest,” 60-year-old villager M. Rudrappa told DC.
He added “This task was given to our children because the small pond which served as the water source of wild elephants has been ours in the recent times, as there is no water supply to our village.”
As 61-year-old R. Gowri who collects water from the panchayat's open well put it, “presently we have only two sources for getting water. One is the small pond and another is an open well.”
The woman said, “T. Pazhaiyur villagers collect water from the spring at the pond. It takes nearly two hours for them to fill a pot. Others unable to get their turn for collecting water from the spring have been forced to use the water contaminated by our livestock. Here people and animals consume the same water.”
In Tholuvabetta, villagers have to trek almost four-km (for two trips) to get water from the over 50-ft deep panchayat open well that now has very little water, said Gowri.
“The crisis got acute few months ago after the panchayat bore-well dried up and also because of no water supply from the Hogenakkal drinking water project implemented to provide safe drinking water to the people affected by fluoride contamination,” she explained.
The villagers even withdrew a poll boycott of the April 18 Lok Sabha polls on assurance of action by officials. But till date nothing has happened, said 17-year-old R. Sivakumar....